Community of Learning

Meaningful Jewish learning continually deepens our understanding and experience of how Jewish living adds significance, joy and richness to our lives, and how Jewish values affect our daily decisions. Jewish learning, a core activity unto itself, is also a method by which we become a connected, engaged community...at home, at Adat Shalom and in the broader world.

Our Community of Learners (COL) model provides a practical and organic framework for directing decisions about learning and educating at Adat Shalom. The model enables us to capture and enhance the best of what we currently offer, as well as to continually innovate and transform learning, as we emphasize those approaches that make a positive and significant difference for learners of all ages. We will succeed when every congregant is participating in learning and teaching as best suits her/him, and in the evolution of learning in our community.

Our COL affirms that no one individual, group or activity should stand alone, by creating synergies that add greater value to each. Our COL offers learning opportunities that build upon one another, reaching across the congregation's sub-communities, into our homes, and at other gatherings. In order for our COL to live and thrive, actions and activities that we undertake will align with these Guiding Principles:

  1. Nurture community--Integrate content across the community, and integrate people at every stage of life, given their Jewish knowledge.
  2. Foster strong sub-communities--Cultivate diverse groupings and provide professional and expert lay support as they progress in their learning.
  3. Maximize inter-generational benefits--Create mutual benefit across demographic groups, through mentorship, shared learning, and parallel learning around common themes.
  4. Empower teachers, leaders and learners--Use our own communal human resources to drive and take ownership of learning opportunities in the home, in synagogue and beyond; encouraging learners to also be teachers.
  5. Create meaning and relevance--Provide substantive and challenging offerings that are relevant to people's whole life perspective at each developmental stage.
  6. Emphasize experiential learning--Provide authentic, multi-sensory, immersive learning experiences, both at the synagogue and beyond.
  7. Assist members to access learning--Create a variety of learning opportunities for members, make choices accessible, and tap into offerings in the greater D.C. area.

Visual Representation

Our learning model is like a growing tree. The tree is rooted in a uniquely Reconstructionist approach to Judaism, and Adat Shalom's pre-existing Congregational Guidelines, which provide stability and encourage growth. The tree's trunk is shaped and fortified by the seven Guiding Principles, from which our programmatic branches sprout. Congregants will climb one or more branches, at different times and in different combinations, as they seek their own most appropriate learning opportunities. Branches that align with all or many of the model's guiding principles, and enrich many congregants, may receive more nourishment and grow thicker. Less aligned, thinner branches, will still enrich the canopy, may thicken over time, or organically contract. Regular stewardship is critical to ensuring the vitality of every branch and every leaf, as our tree grows on Persimmon Tree Lane.

Jewish Studies Information

Adat Shalom opens all of its Jewish Studies programs to members and guests, including interested young people who have become bar or bat mitzvah. Click here for latest flyer.